Time For a Check-Up?

sun_rise.jpgI was a college student at the time.  I was just about to finish with a degree in business from the University of North Texas.  For about a year, I had been going to a new church in Dallas.  At this church, I met many people who would make a real contribution to my life.  One of these people was Steve, a friend now for many years.

One day, I went with Steve to Baylor Hospital in Dallas to visit someone from our church.  We pulled into the parking lot and he saw the "Clergy Parking."  As I recall, he said, "Let’s park there, after all we are ministers."  He had been listening to what was being preached and taught in our church.  EVERYONE is a minister.  God uses everyone in the body of Christ to minister to other people.  We are all gifted and empowered by the Spirit for ministry.  Yes, we knew whom those parking spaces were for but we were college students and prone to sometimes act quickly and think later. 

Whether one is in "full-time ministry" or whether one is a minister in the general sense (as my friend Steve was thinking), there are four components to ministry that need attention.  These components are:

  1. Being — What am I becoming?  Am I becoming Christlike?  Is Christ really being formed in me?
  2. Knowing — What do I know?  Am I growing in my knowledge of Scripture?  Am I growing in my knowledge of God?
  3. Relating — How do I relate to people?  Am I able to connect with people?  If I look back at my relationships with people, are there any unhealthy patterns that emerge?  Do I keep running into the same relational walls no matter where I live?
  4. Doing — Do I seriously intend to live as a Christ-follower?  Is my life characterized by an intention to obey the Lord in every area of my life?

(These four components are not original with me, but I do not recall the source.)

So often, many of us neglect one or more of these components.  Perhaps we are incredibly busy doing good things but we are not really "becoming."  That is, there may not be much attention given to our own formation into the likeness of Jesus.  Or, we may know much about the Bible but we can’t seem to deal with people.  We may regularly teach or preach but then we explode with anger at people who do not affirm our work.

What about you?  Given this breakdown, which component of ministry would you say needs special attention in your life?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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7 thoughts on “Time For a Check-Up?

  1. Ouch, you sure know how to step on my toes! I would say that the doing component is the one I need to most focus on right now. Particularly when it comes to work, my communication does not always signify that I’m a follower of Christ. I find myself slipping into idle words, gossip, slander, complaining, sarcasm, etc… I’ve been praying a lot lately that God would help me overcome the temptation to speak words that are not pleasing to Him. I can see some improvement, by the grace of God, but still a LONG way from where I want to be!

  2. Don’t have much time as I have a funeral to work this morning, but mine is relating … not that I don’t relate well to people, but I don’t allow myself get very close to many people. A 7-year nightmare in Florida is responsible for this. We were very, very close to people who turned their backs on us and one couple in particular who then stabbed us in the back, and all based on the lies of one very mean-spirited, and evil woman. It has taken me many years to let down my guard enough to actually form very close relationships outside of my immediate family. Even though I recognized the situation and have an advanced degree in counseling, I still keep a wall around my heart, allowing very few to have access beyond a certain point.Good post, Jim. 

  3. relating is always a challenge. funny, because I love to be social, but I find that I need to learn how to listen more. I’m memorizing a few Proverbs to this end at the moment.

  4. L.L.I like your comment and it is a reminder that relating is more than being social or liking people, etc.  It may involve growing in a particular area (like listening as you suggest).  Thanks very much! 

  5. Greg,Thank you for what you said.  I suspect that many of us can point to an incident somewhere in the past that made an incredible difference in the way relate to people.  So often those incidents are negative.  (I can recall one that happened when I was a child that was in my conscious mind for years.) 

  6. Lisa,As I read your comment, I thought about how perceptive you are to be aware of what is coming out of your mouth.  For many of us, that one seems to be a blind spot.  I really commend you in your sensitivity to this in your own life. 

  7. Jim,
    Yes, I recall those youthful days of acting quickly and thinking later, like picking up every hitch-hiker, day or night, determined to share the gospel.  Remember?
    These are great thoughts.  I often focus on one to the neglect of the others.  Being is the most challenging to me, seeming to require the most surrender on my part.  This post is helpful.  Thanks.